After freezing the Durian for a day I moved it to my refrigerator to permit the fruit to thaw. As the hours passed it became obvious the fruit's aroma was becoming more pungent each time I grabbed something to eat or drink. At first, the smell came across as a faint blend of musty basement and spoiled milk, but it began to change as the fruit thawed more. By the time I arrived home from work today, the Durian had started to develop a fuller scent closer to a blend of natural gas and rotten fruit wrapped up in dirty socks. The smell was enough to make me furrow my brow... and I had yet to cut into the thing.
|Here we go...|
I grabbed the knife with the flower print mitt wrapping my right hand, turned the fruit on its side, and began cutting. There was no change in the aroma at first, but seconds later I was hit with a waft of the Durian's interior. The earlier scent of dirty-rotten-gas-sock-fruit doubled in intensity as I continued cutting. I expected it to get worse as I sliced further down the fruit's side, but I was surprised to find that the smell had reached a plateau. It smelled bad, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
|How do you like my mitts?|
|That's when it hit me...|
As the taste lingered, I rolled my tongue in my mouth and looked up and Rachael, who stood feet away, camera at the ready. "Do you want to try it?" I asked cautiously. After a brief moment of consideration Rachael replied, "Sure" and started walking toward the fruit. She wisely took the slightest nibble of the yellow, pasty Durian. After letting the taste settle for a moment she said, "It's not that bad... If you have nothing else to eat, I guess." I nodded in agreement with the last portion of her remark and expressed my desire to bring the Durian experiment to a close.
"What about the dogs?" Rachael asked as I started stacking the remaining pieces of the fruit. I grabbed one more chunk of the Durian and slowly lowered my hand toward the ground. Baxter and Buddy, our Dachshunds, approached my hand in anticipation. Once they caught a whiff of the Durian their eyes widened simultaneously and they began lapping at the creamy gob of fruit. They were in a state of bliss as they began inhaling one of the stinkiest pieces of food they have likely ever encountered. In seconds Buddy tugged the fruit out of my hand and onto the floor. I moved quickly to pick it up and stop the Durian frenzy that was about to ensue. A look of disappointment crossed the dogs faces as they both sat down in a desperate attempt to win my favor and win back the Durian. Being a good father, I threw them both one more little piece before tossing the remaining Durian into a trash bag and walking it to the curb.
|"Something unbelievably stinky we can eat! Yesssss!"|
I immediately noticed the lingering smell of Durian hanging in the air as I walked back into the house. The smell permeated each room I entered and maintained equal intensity regardless of my position in the house. The persistence of the odor made me understand why public possession of Durian is illegal in some countries and left me hoping the smell would soon dissipate. Two hours after my experience with Durian, a trace of the scent remains in my house. To be clear, this stuff stinks.
My experience with Durian will undoubtedly stay with me for quite some time. Although the fruit is not something I will ever seek as a seasonal treat, I'm happy I was able to experience one of the most infamous foods on the planet. Despite the awful taste, I must say I would likely try fresh Durian if I ever found myself in the fruit's native Thailand and was offered the chance. However, I wouldn't expect the experience to be much different than the one I had today. The Durian fruit's scent makes it incredibly difficult to notice the more tolerable aspects of its taste, and I assume this wouldn't be much different with a fresher fruit in a different part of the world. That aside, after today's "I have never..." event I must say I think the Durian fruit is worth trying. If nothing else, putting yourself through the Durian taste test lets you get some ridiculous photos and gain one hell of a story to tell about an otherwise typical experience.